Manileños get stuck in traffic for an average of 66 minutes daily, according to a recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group. But we can’t put all the blame on infrastructure. A huge part of the problem is the way Filipinos drive.
One bad habit in particular is counterflowing, or trying to gett ahead of other motorists by going against the flow of traffic.
Counterflowing doesn’t just contribute to the traffic problem, it is also often the cause of accidents that result in damage to property, injury, or even loss of lives. Here’s why you should think twice about doing it the next time you drive:
1. It is an expensive violation
If you’re not familiar with the Metro Manila Development Authority’s list of traffic violations and their respective fines, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself as well as other motorists.
In fact, counterflowing is one of the most expensive violations in the Philippines. Offenders who are caught driving against traffic will be slapped with the following fines:
- First offense: P2,000 and a three-month suspension of driver’s license
- Second offense: P2,000 and a six-month suspension of driver’s license
- Third offense: P2,000 and revocation of driver’s license
And that’s just for the MMDA. For the motorists in Cebu City, Mayor Tommy Osmeña approved stiffer penalties for counterflowing motorists. Apart from the mandatory 30-day impounding of their vehicle, they also face a fine of P15,000 for trucks, P9,000 for light vehicles, and P3,000 for motorcycles.
2. It can cause massive traffic jams
When you decide to drive against the traffic, chances are you’ll be disrupting the natural flow of the vehicles, especially during rush hour.
If you choose to block a lane at the expense of other people, you will prevent other vehicles—who have the right of way in the first place—from moving, causing a chain reaction. You’re bound to do nothing but cause more trouble to other motorists.
Want proof ? Watch this footage of a bus driver going against the flow and causing traffic on both sides:
3. It endangers people’s lives
Remember that shocking video back in 2016 when a counterflowing Mitsubishi Adventure got in a head-on collision with a motorcycle that sent the latter’s driver spinning mid-air?
However, you look at it, the vehicle driver was in the wrong. Fortunately, the motorcycle rider survived, and the family of the victim decided not to press charges against the Adventure driver.
So, what was the cause of the accident? The driver went against traffic in a two-lane bridge with a blind curve and the roads were marked with double yellow lanes.
In case you were sleeping during your driver’s license examination, double yellow lines are placed in no-passing zones. These are portions of roads where oncoming traffic is not visible or too fast for you to make a passthrough. If you cross these lines, you are putting a lot of lives at risk, including your own.
4. It can hurt your insurance claim filing
As a driver, you put yourself at risk whenever you go against the vehicular flow.
Since accidents are unpredictable, you may find yourself in a head-on collision that can cause damage to your car. If you’re lucky, then all you can get is a dented bumper. If you have car insurance, you might think that you already dodged the bullet. However, it’s a bit tricky.
While comprehensive car insurance includes own-damage coverage, claims for damages that are done intentionally and with reckless abandon can be denied by the insurance company.
If the claim filed is done for a damage where the inspector can conclude that it’s the driver’s fault, the claim is denied, and all repairs will be shouldered by the owner. Keep that in mind that having an insurance coverage doesn’t equate to immunity.
5. It perpetuates the bad driving habits of Filipinos
Let’s face it: We still have a long way to go when it comes to driver education.
While we have become more self-policing in our road habits in fear of becoming the next victim of Facebook’s lynch mob, we still can’t totally eradicate our primitive driving culture. In a dog-eat-dog world like Edsa, it’s hard to become a saint behind the wheel.
But we should always strive to be a better version of who we were yesterday. By continuing to participate in this culture of errant driving ways, we are making ourselves part of the problem that traps us in hellish gridlocks.
Sources: Sunstar, MMDA, ABS-CBN, Rappler